Patrick Jones 00:00
It crazy that society would view anxiety or depression as some sort of negative or, or some sort of weakness, right? It just…what a caveman way of approaching mental health issues that we all have. I’m glad that we’re finally at lifting the veil on that.
Adam Baruh 00:30
Welcome to The Change where we share stories and inspiration from servant leaders working to normalize the mental health conversation and increase empathy and business. I’m your host, Adam Baruh. Today I speak with Patrick Jones, a producer, sketch artists and comedian, film student and host of the podcast That Gives Me Anxiety, a podcast about things that scare us and how to deal a pad. Welcome to The Change.
Patrick Jones 00:54
Hey, thank you so much for having me.
Adam Baruh 00:56
Yeah, I know, we’ve spoken before I’ve been on your podcast. Still, I think I’m waiting to see that episode come out. But yeah, so we’ve spoken before. So today is my opportunity to get you as a guest and kind of dive into what you do and how the work that you’re doing. And the podcast ties in with what we’re doing here on The Change. So you have a podcast called That Gives Me Anxiety. I was actually just listening to your episode on I think it was around schedules and getting stressed out by them.
Patrick Jones 01:29
Yeah, yeah. When you’re not in control of your schedule. Yeah.
Adam Baruh 01:32
Yes, exactly. So we’re gonna definitely dive into that, because that’s something that I like, literally, I almost wanted to say I daily deal with that. But I almost deal with that on an hourly basis. You know,
Yeah, it’s something we all talk about, right? Like, if a meeting pops up on your work, calendar, it even that like message can give you anxiety, right? The, for the listeners, the episode is more about, you know, times if you’re visiting your family, or, you know, when you can’t decide where you’re supposed to go or what you’re supposed to, or what you’re going to be doing and how helpless that can make us feel.
Adam Baruh 02:06
Totally. Yeah, definitely want to get into that with you. But let’s get started. Okay, so you know, in your bio that you provided to us, you you’ve self described as a journalist, comedian, and podcaster. Okay, so interesting background there. So let’s, why don’t we start with, you know, what got you and all that. You know, I’d love to hear the comedian part of that, too. I think that’s really cool. So why don’t you take us there? I mean, and then we’ll go back further, you know, in your industry a little bit later, but yeah, journalists, comedian podcaster. So how did tell us how that came to be?
Patrick Jones 02:45
Yeah. So I was at school and in SUNY Buffalo and unsure where what I wanted to do with my life. Definitely one of those people that, you know, I have a lot of energy, but I didn’t know which direction to sort of point it. And I always felt a little guilty about trying, I was interested in film and video, but I felt guilty as like, you know, it’s not a real job to kind of pursue that. Right. It’s, it’s, it’s something it’s a hobby, it’s, you know, what Rich kids get to do.
Adam Baruh 03:17
I get that like, like, a privilege type.
Patrick Jones 03:19
Exactly. That’s, that’s a better word for it. Yeah. But I just in undergrad, I took a visual communications class, and we talked a lot about the cinematography of older movies. And I just found myself enthralled with that and love, like the metaphor that you can put forward and so ended up deciding to pursue a master’s degree in film and video, which I ended up doing an American university in DC. Just loved it. And so following getting my master’s degree, I took a job at a startup. I mean, before that, I was doing some freelancing and didn’t really think that that was for me, because it was too exhausting, especially at the ground floor level to like, be finding jobs, while also wanting to do well at the job that you were getting and wanted something a bit more substantial. So my first full time job was with a company called Buzz 60. And we made these short 62nd news clips, everything from you know, celebrity gossip, to actual political news to you name it, right weird news, everything in between. There I was editing, shooting, lighting, hosting every aspect of the of the process. And I’ve always been, you know, loud at times and my friend group and care had enjoyed making people laugh and so I brought a flavor to these videos that were kind of on the funnies. Time, right? It’s not like a stand up routine, but a comedic edge to them. I mean, yeah, which also helps make, you know, as making five or six videos a day, it also helps pass the time to like, I’ll add some more, you know, personality to them. And then you have from there, I wanted to get better at that job. So I started doing improv and sketch comedy at UCB, and the pit in the magnet theater and a bunch of different theaters in New York City and fell in love with that as an art form and loved being on stage and I still perform well, now here in Charleston. Okay, at theater 99, which is incredible. Yeah.
Adam Baruh 05:45
I mean, what was that like to get like to go up on stage? Had you done that before like high school theater, or? This was Tuesday, I’m gonna go there and do that.
Patrick Jones 05:53
Yeah. So I think it stems from my headspace at that time was I’ve always had something outside of work, I’ve always needed something creative or athletic, to push myself towards after, you know, school or work. So at that time, I was kind of getting bored with life outside of work. I was tired of every weekend being or Iowa bar we go into I wanted something outside and I bumped into a high school friend that I hadn’t seen in years, told me that he was signing up for an improv class and like kind of explained to me what improv even was. Because I wasn’t really sure you know what it meant, like, what long form improv was signed up for the class, like, on the spot, the class that he was taking. And the first night I was there, the teacher brought us to a jam after class, which is just where people of all different levels can get up at the same time with more experienced people. And the more experienced people help you kind of navigate your way through. So yeah, I jumped up that first night, and I was terrified, but you feel alive, right? So yeah, totally. Life can be boring, unless you fill it in with things that make you feel things.
Adam Baruh 07:17
Absolutely. I and you know, weaved the first two episodes of the change. We talked about emotional courage. And that’s, that’s what you’re touching on here. I mean, you you just had a passion, you had a desire to have this creative side, and you didn’t let your fear get in the way of doing something that really piqued your interest that lit a fire within you. And so, to talk about that a little bit more, I mean, just what you know, you know, and then, as you started to do it a little bit more, I mean, for me, for me, the way that I relate to it, in a in a creative world is when I started doing wedding photography, I think I was really excited. At first I was terrified. And then it got to a point where I really didn’t think I was good enough. And then I kind of powered through that and think I made a pretty good career out of it all it financially, it didn’t really pay the bills too well for me, but you know what, talk about that process a little bit, you know, and only because I’m hoping that people that are listening, you know, can understand what that process is like, I mean, it’s not like, you know, for a lot of people, you know, when it comes to emotional courage, it’s not like, you do it. And it’s terrifying. And then you’re like, Oh, well, I did it. I’m good. Like, it kind of takes it took a while, for me at least to get to that point where I felt comfortable and not like an imposter in that space.
Patrick Jones 08:38
Yeah, it ebbs and flows. And, you know, I feel I’ve been doing it now, about 10 years. And there are times when I do feel like an impostor, you know, there are times where I’m on stage. And it’s like, oh, man, what am I doing? Like, that was terrible. I mean, that’s also the nature of the art form itself, is that right? It’s nothing prepared, like you could, the bottom could drop out and you could have a terrible show, right? That’s very, it’s not like a play with it’s pre written and people know the songs to Hamilton before they even come, right. Like it’s gonna be, it’s gonna work out. But with improv, in particular, it could go wrong. And so that fear is always there a little bit, but I’ve learned to channel that to excitement right away from letting it debilitate me. And that only comes like exactly what you’re saying about wedding photography that only comes with failure and living through the failure here. 100% and just battling through it because the excitement outweighs the potential for disaster.
Adam Baruh 09:43
Yeah. And failures is fine. Like, it sucks. But it’s been the greatest teacher for me. And it’s been, you know, for me, the greatest teacher in terms of like understanding who I am and what I’m capable of and understanding what my boundaries are. You know?
Patrick Jones 10:00
And you change your boundaries a little bit, but when you when you fail, and I always look at failure to as as a funny story, right that I have stories with my friends who I was coming up with in the improv world. And it’s like, Hey, you remember that show, we just ate it. And, you know, we have a laugh about it, right? It. It’s funny, it’s, you know, it’s not a monster in the closet, it’s just a good story. Now, the badge of honor almost.
Adam Baruh 10:30
Yeah, and, you know, one of the memories I have, I think this was my second wedding I photographed and everything was going well. And then, after the ceremony, you know, I usually took the family shots, like the all the family portraits and stuff like that. And this was a large family, and it was taking a while. And it was kind of a warm day, and I had my camera bag. And see, I didn’t know this at the time, because I just hadn’t had the experience. But I had my camera bag with my lenses and stuff, just sitting on the grass, like in the sun. And then I go to put one of my other kind of main lenses on and it was completely fogged up on the inside because it was in the side. So you know, what I what I learned in that moment is, wedding photography is very much about problem solving. In the moment, right. And, and that’s something that, you know, with my career, and with a lot of things, I really enjoy problem solving, whatever variety that may be. So, one thing I wanted to touch on, you know, especially related to improv that I think is really cool, is, you know, this idea of being in a flow state. And this is another topic we’ve discussed on the change. You know, something that, I think, is just what our soul needs, is being in more of a flow state at more times, right. And that’s very much like, the creative process is very much about that. But also the problem solving, like, you know, I’ve been, you know, my main kind of nine to five is in software development. And, you know, there’s so much problem solving, and I get I get in such a flow state. So, you know, tell me, tell me what that’s like for you. And you know, you kind of thought about it, have you thought about flow state and how it impacts your mindset or just maybe fills your cup from kind of like a higher like abstract level?
Patrick Jones 12:20
Oh, yeah. So I mean, even when I first come on the stage, right, and theatre night, now we do short form improv, which is more quicker, more jokey kind of games, like little sealants and stuff. And then we do long form later on in the show. When I first come out, right, and they introduce in Patrick Jones, or they introduced the whole cast, I’m nervous, I’m anxious. And I remember thinking in this Friday, acknowledging that anxiety, and then just being like, Oh, it’s okay, I’m gonna enter the flow state here shortly. And I’m not even going to think about the audio, right? It’s which is such a such an interesting acknowledgement that like, oh, yeah, whatever, I’ll just get through this part. And I know where my mind is gonna go. Because once you’re, once you’re in there, when sure you’re just thinking about it. I mean, you got a chessboard in front of you. In terms of like, alright, what is the scene need? What’s the call back to something else? Like just rotating through all these thoughts? Right, what is this other former looking me like? What are what are ways I can help the show? Because even when you’re on the sidelines, you’re an active, you’re gonna you’re a director in that, like, of a scene needs to be edited? Do you have to do that? Right? We’re building the show together on the fly. So if you’re not in that creative flow state, you’re doing something wrong.
Adam Baruh 13:40
Yeah that’s really that’s really coo.
Patrick Jones 13:43
That’s, it feels good. It feels it’s a departure from yourself. Right? Like, it’s probably something similar to you know, why some people have a drink after work or, you know, get in there weed a little bit, right. It’s, it’s a departure from the day’s trouble.
Adam Baruh 14:02
And it’s also it’s meditative. I mean, it kind of gets you out of your little monkey brain mind where you’re just completely in the moment and your senses are heightened. You’re listening, you’re looking you’re, you know, what’s going on with the dialogue of, you know, the, the other players around you and stuff like that. So, that’s awesome. I love that you’re doing that. That’s really cool. Yeah. And so I want to kind of switch gears and talk about your podcast that gives me anxiety. So, you know, where did that where did the idea for that come into play and tell me how anxiety has been present in your life?
Patrick Jones 14:38
Yeah, I’ve been anxious. My whole life. I mean, I was a tightly wound kid, right? I remember just being worried about like, the silliest things, from like, the playground days that, you know, just having like awkward schoolyard things that would happen, but they would like blow up and become Hmm, mountains, right mountains, you know, the old cliche mountains for mole hills. And I would worry about them for for months and potentially even like a whole school year, just like something awkward I said on a school. So constantly, it’s been present in my life, I think a big misconception that some people have about anxiety is that you need to have something particularly traumatic in order to be anxious, right? Divorce or something, you know, going on some kind of harassment or assault or something like that. That’s not really the case. I mean, certainly, you know, what I just described are large moments, that probably would cause a lot of anxiety. But if you’re just a person, that’s just really anxious, you deserve to explore ways to improve your mental health as well. And it took me until I was like, 30, to acknowledge that mental health is something that I could actually work on and improve. And that’s a part of what the show is, it’s it’s part of my journey, trying to improve my life and improve other people’s lives and give us tools help us handle the life scariest things, because it sucks to be afraid it sucks to be depressed, sucks to be anxious, and by talking about it, and sharing stories, you know, it’s just like a potluck of ideas is everybody’s got their own things that have helped them. And, you know, maybe one thing doesn’t work with you, but something else will, right. There’s a lot of options out there. And I just want people to hear about them. And at times where it makes sense. laugh about it?
Adam Baruh 16:41
Totally. No, I think even just having the conversation is normalizing. And I think that’s the world in which we’re living now that I’m super proud to be living in this moment where, you know, we’re seeing in popular culture, you know, a lot of different people and organizations that are really understanding that we all, you know, kind of suffer in one way or the other from mental health issues, whether it’s like a persistent chronic thing, or whether it’s just, you know, based on some sort of event, like you were talking about, and just, you know, not being afraid as somebody who’s going through mental health stuff, of being able to talk about it, like understanding like, Hey, I don’t have to hide this thing, or live in a closet with it anymore. Like, you know, this person next to me is probably dealing with something that is just as, you know, challenging in their life and just kind of being able to relate to each other. That’s, that’s another reason why I’ve been very excited to, you know, have these interviews with, with people like yourself, I’ve just, you know, just kind of normalizing it just understanding, you know, having that empathy where, you know, being able to relate to each other and feeling less alone. I mean, that’s, that’s another big thing with that.
Patrick Jones 18:00
Absolutely. Yeah. It’s crazy that society would view anxiety or depression as some sort of negative or some sort of weakness, right, it says it what a caveman way of approaching mental health issues that we all have. I’m glad that we’re finally lifting the veil on that.
Adam Baruh 18:17
Absolutely. And, you know, I’m the CEO of a software company. And, you know, even just six years ago, when I created the company, I just, I didn’t, I don’t know, I mean, maybe a lot of it had to do with just me and the way that I kind of was viewing the world and my belief systems, but I, looking back now, I don’t think that the climate for being a vulnerable leader, and being open with, you know, my challenges and kind of sharing that with my team is kind of trying to model vulnerability and, and open communication. Again, it could have been more on me, but I just, I really don’t think that we were there yet as a society. I, I think, definitely, you know, a lot of the, you know, divisions that that a lot of people have been fighting through over the last several years. And then the pandemic, really, you know, were the catalyst for you know, I’m not feeling okay. I think definitely the pandemic made it okay to say I’m not okay, you know, yeah, I’ve been, you know, holed up in my house with my kids and No, no access to playgrounds for the past six months, like, no parent is going to be okay for that. But
Patrick Jones 19:33
That’s, it’s so awesome that you’re doing that. I mean, you know, I don’t believe in trickle down economics, but I think trickle down, you know, emotional intelligence is you’re leading in in such a healthy way that I’m sure your employees appreciate.
Adam Baruh 19:48
Hopefully, I you know, I think so. I think everybody gets it here. So it, you know, makes me really excited about the team that I work with also. Yeah, um, yeah, so let’s, let’s talk out that episode because it definitely piqued my interest about not being in control at your schedule. And, you know, again, I know you were, a lot of it has to do with just going to the holiday and there’s family there and you got to go with the flow and you’re in a group setting everybody, the group decides they want to go here, they they want to go there, it’s like, you just, you kind of have to let it go a little bit. And, you know, something that I wanted to touch on, that I was alluding to at the beginning of this episode is. So right now currently, I run for businesses. That’s one of the which I’m dissolving. Yeah, one of which I’m dissolving into a different entity. But it’ll still be three. I mean, that’s sweet centric, which is my main business to consulting agency, I’ve got 20 or so employees and contractors that work for me. And then I have e IQ media, which, you know, this podcast is produced through. And I also produce how I made it through via e IQ media. And then I just am now launching actually, I guess last night was the official go live date only because I’m releasing this now to the world and beta users. But I have an application I wrote called Podtask – Podtask.com, which is like a CRM episode management task management event management solution for podcasters. Also having the ability to find other people in the directory to reach out and try to book them as guests. And you know, to be listed in the directory of yourself so that people can find you. But then there’s also this element I added for podcasts pitching where you can, you know, send a request to a specific podcast and say, Hey, I would love to be a guest on your podcast in a very personalized way. So, you know, so I’m pretty busy. And my schedule is bonkers. And I have four kids. Yeah. On top of that, I have four kids. Now, two of them are our adults, the older two, so they’re easy. You know, my day to day is less impacted by them. And then I have a seven year old and a three year old and so, you know, I am I feel it often, very often that I am not in charge of my schedule. How do I, how do I get through this? Patrick? What do I do man? Help me out!
Patrick Jones 22:21
Well, well, just to preface to your listeners that I am not a mental health professional, you know, I interview a lot of mental health professionals.
Adam Baruh 22:31
This is the real, the real Pat telling me from his own just, you know, personal experience.
Patrick Jones 22:39
Yeah, I think I think the easiest answer is finding moments for self care. So is it okay, you’re gonna find 10 minutes that you can possibly have and just like, lay down close your eyes and do some breathing exercises? Or is it something that you can look forward to at the end of the week? For me, that is I play old man, ice hockey on Sundays. And I look forward to that. And you know that, that helps you as you’re dealing with stressful moments throughout the week that like, alright, well, you know, I have this thing to look forward to. But it doesn’t have to be something as big as that just something, a walk that that you’d like, or on a trail that you’d like, or you know, a little bit of yoga, or a movie time, whatever, whatever you need. prioritizing your own self care and finding moments that you can add that into your schedule. I mean, unfortunately, in the case of children, children are going to need more from you, then, you know, the boundaries aren’t as set.
Adam Baruh 23:48
Yeah, my three year old isnot changing his own diapers and I’m getting close to being potty trained now though.
Patrick Jones 23:55
See, there you go. And as as these positive potty trained you, you might have a little bit more time to build for yourself. So you just kind of white knuckling through till that moment. But yeah, just just looking for some time and acknowledging the situation at for what it is right? It can be anxious and overwhelming. But until you take a second and try to step outside of those thoughts, and examine it from another perspective, it can it can kick your ass, right? It can absolutely kick your ass.
Adam Baruh 24:29
No I think you you’ve touched on something that for me, I think is profound, which is understanding the moment for what it is. And my coach, Kristen Taylor has kind of spoken about that. Where just you know, you kind of take a step back and you know, you read you recognize and you kind of name the emotions that you’re feeling. God I’m really feeling really frustrated right now. I’m feeling really stressed out and then given yourself you know, a break Instead of where sometimes, you know, I’ll go down this rabbit hole of thinking like why mean, you know, kind of this victim mentality?
Patrick Jones 25:07
Or why am I so anxious? I gotta stop this, like, This is crazy. It’s unhelpful? Yes. Okay, to feel anxious, it’s a natural body experience, it’s very much the same, your body reacts the same way to anxiety as it does excitement. So yeah, you can even potentially convince yourself that you are just excited. You know?
Adam Baruh 25:29
I love that. And that’s a really, like, you know, and use that word profound again, but that’s a profound statement, like, you know, we spend so much mental energy, you know, feeling bad, when we’re anxious or feeling like, you know, we’re ill equipped to deal with some sort of a situation, but, you know, is it a reality to think that we’re, you know, gonna reach this level in our life where we’re not going to feel anxious? I mean, it’s probably, there’s always going to be anxiety, it’s really just kind of the process it and how we work through it. And how we, you know, I think the key is, how are we not let it sit inside of us, where we ruminate about it, you know, you just, you let it go, you know, I feel, and I’ve spoken about this, too, on this podcast, where, you know, it used to be before, you know, I really started getting into, like mindfulness and this sort of, like, internal work, where, you know, I’d get stuck on these emotions and thoughts, they wouldn’t flow through me, they would just pile up within me and ultimately, you know, lead to feelings of resentment and things like that.
Patrick Jones 26:38
Yeah, well, there’s two things that you made me think of there. So you mentioned getting something out of you. And that’s, that’s why people journal, that’s why people do art therapy, by getting something out, right? saying it out loud, right, if you know, the easiest way to just acknowledge it. It allows you to remove that feeling from yourself, and feel like it’s somewhere and you can come back to it and reread it, you know, or if you record it, or look at the piece of art that you’ve created. And that allows you to have that conversation with yourself. But also, we’re always going to be anxious in one way or another, right? Like, let’s look at what our lives are at this point, right? You got to be a good dad, you have to drink a lot of water, you got to exercise, you got to know all the Netflix shows, you got to like, on and on and on and on. There’s a lot piled onto us. And so as things get put on you you’re not always going to be I mean, we’re not Superman, right? We’re just human beings who happen to be born and living in the year 2022. And there’s just a lot of extra crap that consumerism is probably cropped up on us. And I’m not going to go crazy into all that. But it’s just the reality of the world we live in.
Adam Baruh 28:04
Yeah, I mean, and yesterday, so we’re filming this on Wednesday, November 9, yesterday was Election Day and election cycles, always get people very anxious, right? I mean, yeah, I can’t tell you the the amount of text messages I’ve gotten from my mom, just Oh, my God and the world, you know, like, just can we get this election cycle over? So yeah, I mean, there’s, there’s going to be things that come up, whether they’re internal, internally triggered or externally triggered. You know, and that’s another kind of topic, I’d like to pick your brain on a little bit. This just triggers. You know, there was a time where I felt like I needed to make sure to not put myself in situations where I knew I was going to be triggered, and try to avoid them. But um, now I’m kind of, you know, I kind of think a lot about like, is that? Is that what we’re supposed to do? Or maybe we’re supposed to, maybe the triggers are there to tell us like, hey, you know, you haven’t resolved this yet. And so we’re just the universe is gonna keep reminding you that you have this trigger until you kind of acknowledge it and and deal with that. Right. Yeah. Thoughts on on triggers.
Patrick Jones 29:18
Well, it, I recognize that there is a spectrum of what a trigger can mean, right. It can mean something small, or it can mean you know, something deeply traumatic.
Adam Baruh 29:31
Yes. Thank you for saying that. Yeah,
Patrick Jones 29:33
Yeah. No, no, no worries. And so, you know, this advice is probably more towards the lesser end. But I do think that, right in cognitive behavioral therapy, and exposure therapy, you’re exposed to the things that scare you and you sit the idea is to have you sit in them until you realize and acknowledge that you’re okay for example, I interviewed a third First who is nervous over driving over bridges. And she talks about how she told she told me a story about how she would just like white knuckle it and get it and get through a bridge when she would have to drive over it. But that doesn’t get you anywhere because you’re not acknowledging or you’re not like realizing that you are okay. And really, the idea is to stay in the moment and acknowledge how you’re feeling, but then acknowledging that you’re okay. Right, realizing that you’re okay in that moment. And the whole thing is to stay in that until you feel 25% less anxious, 50% less anxious, because then you remember that next time, and it it. Your body remembers that next time. And you can do that over time, and you can slowly build up the stakes. You can eliminate it. Mean anxiety is a learned response. And so we can unlearn it. Yeah.
Adam Baruh 30:57
That’s very interesting. Well, hey, thank you for your time today and for being a guest. It’s always a pleasure to speak with you. So thanks for being here today, Pat.
Patrick Jones 31:06
Yeah, thank you so much for having me on.
Adam Baruh 31:09
Patrick Jones is a journalist, producer and podcaster. Patrick is host of that gives me anxiety, a show about the things that scare us and how to deal. He’s also an accomplished improviser, and sketch comedian. He has a master’s in film and video from American University. You can read more about Patrick on our website, eiqmediallc.com/thechange, as well as on his podcast that gives me anxiety. Our theme song and sound engineering was provided by Shane Suffriti. You can listen to more of Shane’s music at www.shanesuffriti.com. If you have a story to share about making a difference in the lives of people you lead, or if you want to tell us what you think about our podcast, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you all for listening. We’ll see you next time on The Change.
EIQ Media, LLC 32:04
The Change is produced and distributed by EIQ Media LLC. Elevate your emotional IQ with podcasts and content focused on leadership, mental health, entrepreneurship and more.